Kaleida Health officials have chosen Chason Affinity Companies as the preferred developer for the Gates Circle Hospital site. An official announcement is expected later today. Chason Affinity's project
for reusing much of the complex for a veterinary school beat out a strong proposal from Uniland Development that called for demolition and mixed-use, new construction.
Chason/Affinity's project calls for a new "School of Veterinary Medicine" and on-site student housing. The proposal requires selective demolition, adaptive reuse, and historic preservation with a total project cost of $65 million.
Uniland Development proposed "Chapin Place" that included condominiums, apartments, townhouses, a wellness center, office space, retail, and a boutique hotel, featuring both the Lancaster Avenue extension suggested by the Urban Land Institute and creation of an Olmsted styled park on the Chapin Parkway axis. Total project cost was estimated at approximately $100 million.
Chason Affinity is working with HWG Studio, Watts Architecture + Engineering, Atelier Ten, Barbara Campagna, AIA, BMS Studio, and Dr. James Brown.
Chason's architectural team, along with its veterinary advisors, confirmed that the facilities needed are basically in place at the Gates site and are easily adapted. By reusing the hospital in this way, it would be "preserved" while bringing a new business to Western New York.
The expected student body would number approximately 600, considering a 4-year curriculum as well as advanced specialties. Other additional classes will increase this number significantly. The professors, teachers, administration, hospital personal and support could bring over 200 new permanent jobs.
From the Chason Affinity submittal to Kaleida:
We would be the first to admit that it's different, but we are confident that it would create an opportunity, new to Western New York, that would accomplish several goals. These are: responsible preservation of the property, bringing a large new business to Buffalo, the direct creation of hundreds of long term jobs, which would grow to even more jobs, bringing many new people to Western New York, restoring the original 1911 Hospital, as well as creating a green campus setting that would relate to Fredrick Law Olmsted's vision. The idea would also build on the educational and medical reputation of Western New York, while not competing with either of those in any way.
We are very excited and pleased for the opportunity to present this idea and if we are fortunate enough to be chosen, to make it become a reality.
- Mark Chason, President, Chason Affinity Companies